You may have signed a mandatory arbitration agreement with your employer and not even know it. As part of a job offer or bonus, tens of millions of Americans are forced to sign such documents. Amazon, GE, Ford and Coca-Cola are examples of companies that require these agreements.
While you may not think much about mandatory arbitration agreements at the time, you may regret your decision to sign these documents down the road when you encounter an employment issue. What should you be concerned about? These documents limit your legal options as an employee.
The main problem is that conflicts of interest may come about. An employer can hire an arbitrator who they personally know and who would ultimately ensure they get the more favorable outcome. This process therefore favors the employer and leaves the employee with little recourse. The decision made by the arbitrator is final. They cannot sue or appeal the decision. They also cannot file a lawsuit and sue the employer.
This process is harmful for the employee. It is not a good option for settling employment-related cases because the employer is almost always going to get the better end of the deal. The issues that the employee is dealing with will only continue and even worsen.
Also, arbitration is private. Results of arbitration process are not made public, so nobody knows how often arbitration is done and whether or not it is successful.
What happens if you are forced into arbitration? Do you have any rights? There are some things you can do to level the playing field and make the outcome more balanced.
Negotiating a Fair Agreement
If your employer mandates arbitration, your best bet is to hire an employment attorney to help you negotiate a fair agreement. Your attorney can help you get the most favorable outcome with these tips:
- Choose the arbitrator. To make things equal, you should be able to choose the arbitrator, not the employer. The parties involved should have the right to reject one arbitrator of their choosing.
- Prevent bias. The arbitrator should not be a shareholder or anyone associated with the employer. This includes friends and family members. The arbitrator should be forced to disclose information about personal and business interests to prevent such bias.
- Since the employer is mandating arbitration, they should be footing the bill. Do not agree to pay for it.
- Attorney representation. You should be given the right to have an attorney present during the arbitration to ensure your legal rights are protected. Without a lawyer, you could be easily taken advantage of
Contact a New York Employment Lawyer
If you are struggling with an employment law issue, do not let your employer handle the case. Mandatory arbitration is not fair to the employee, since the employer gets to control the outcome. Even if you have signed an agreement, you may have other rights available.
Get in contact with an experienced employment attorney at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. We can assess your situation and let you know of the available options. We can fight for you. Get started with a consultation. Contact our office at (347) 464-8694.